Winter is sitting just around the corner. The days are getting shorter and the mornings are getting cooler. It’s also around this time that your immunity starts to fall short and the body becomes more prone to viral infections. Although there are many medications available to aide in your winter blues, proper nutrition can ultimately give you the immunity boost that you need.
Here are the 5 best tips for boosting your immune system:
A boost in vitamin C
Boost your intake of foods high in vitamin C. Fruits and veggies including oranges, capsicum, dark leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach), broccoli, berries, kiwi fruit, mandarins, tomatoes and chilli are all high in vitamin C. They also are great additions to a cold-busting diet.
Take in some probiotics
Including yoghurt in your diet each day provides you with a good dose of probiotics to help boost your immune function. Top your morning muesli with some, mix with fruit as a snack or tuck into a tub as a recovery snack after training.
No need for supplements or superfoods to strengthen your immunity
Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables are still the best remedy to boost your immunity. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides a variety of nutrients will offer greater benefit to your immune system than supplementing.
Vitamin D also plays a role in your immune function
Get out for a walk during your lunch break! Recommended sunlight exposure during winter for people living in the north of Australia (e.g. Cairns) is ~9-12 minutes/day, in Brisbane or Perth is ~15-19 minutes/day and in the southern states is between 26-47 minutes/day. Dietary sources of Vitamin D are limited but small amounts can be found in oily fish, egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified milk and margarine.
Be mindful of your carbohydrate intake
If you’re taking a break from training over winter, make sure that you adjust your carbohydrate intake to match your training load. This helps to avoid an unwanted increase in weight while energy needs are reduced. But, if you’re planning on braving the cold, remember to fuel your body before, during and after training with quality carbohydrates to not only keep you training well but to fight off any colds too.